We can finally chalk one up for free speech in the on-going battle between Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan and social media. Five days after the country’s highest court ruled the country’s YouTube ban unconstitutional, service has been restored to the video sharing site.
YouTube was originally banned after an audio recording of government officials considering an invasion into the country’s troubled neighbor, Syria. The ban came around the same time Erdogan’s administration also banned Twitter in the country after a seperate audio leak that seemed to implicate his administration in election fraud. Erdogan took a hard stance against the site, calling it a “scourge” and said social media was the “worst menace to society.” The Turkish high court, however, stated that the bans were an illegal attack on free speech and ordered them lifted. Erdogan stated that he would not defy the order, although he disagreed with it.
Erdogan is looking more isolated in his war against social media. He once claimed that he would showcase the “power of the Turkish Republic” by eradicating Twitter, but not only has service been restored to both social media sites, Turkey’s President has come out publicly against the Prime Minister’s ban. With the Prime Minister lacking support from not only the international community but his own people and his traditional supporters in the government, it appears that what has really been showcased, is the power of distributed networks like the internet.
[Photo Credit: World Economic Forum]